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In its first national minimum wage decision on October 26, the Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC) handed down an increase of $27.36 for workers earning under $700 per week and $22.04 for those earning more than $700 covered by awards.
"When hypocritical old sexists like PM John Howard, Treasurer Peter Costello and radio shock-jock Alan Jones start delivering pious sermons about the rights of women, something very suspicious is happening", Pip Hinman, the Socialist Alliance's anti-war spokesperson, told Green Left Weekly.
Along with his contemptible "catmeat" analogy, Sheikh Taj El-din Al Hilaly's assurance to his congregation last month that, "If a woman is in her boudoir, in her house and if she's wearing the veil and if she shows modesty, disasters don't happen" was, of course, absolute bullshit. One in five Victorian women report being physically or sexually abused by an intimate partner at some time in their adult lives (VicHealth 2004). More than 20% of homicides involve intimate partners (Mouzos 2000). An estimated one in four children and young people have witnessed intimate partner violence (Office of Women's Policy 2002).
The drive to oust Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian has been put on hold as the major parties jostle to win the December 9 mayoral and city council elections for the major cities of Taipei and Kaohsiung.
Howard speech The October 4 Sydney Morning Herald printed an extract of John Howard's speech to the Quadrant 50th anniversary celebration the night before. I wrote a letter about it. Unsurprisingly, the SMH has not printed it: "Of Howard's two
Ruhel Ahmed, Asif Iqbal, Shafiq Rasul and Monir Ali, from the English midlands town of Tipton, travelled to Pakistan in late 2001 for a wedding and a backpacking holiday. All except Ali were captured in Afghanistan by the Northern Alliance and turned over to the US military, which wrongfully imprisoned and tortured them at Guantanamo Bay for more than two years.
The plight of Australian Guantanamo Bay prisoner David Hicks continues, as the government's arrogance and subservience to the US shows no sign of abating.
Terry Hicks, the father of Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, spoke to Green Left Weekly's Leslie Richmond about the implications of the new US Military Commission Act.
Public transport issues continue to feature in the November 25 Victorian state election as both major parties trawl for votes.
On October 21, two days after the anniversary of the sinking of the SIEV-X, shadow minister for immigration Tony Burke announced that he would recommend that the ALP change key aspects of its refugee policy.

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